Cookers Buying Guide
This cooker buying guide details what you need to know about cookers before you decide to buy one from us. There is so much to think about when choosing your cooking appliances. Some decisions will be easy, like fuel and fit type, as these will be determined by the space and the fuel supply to your kitchen. Other decisions, such as colours, styles and additional features are a matter of preference. If you hate cleaning, for example, then choosing models with stay clean liners and removable doors will be beneficial to you. Our buying guide is here to help you find out what choices are right for your needs.
You can either read the full guide, or, if you want to save time, click on one of the links below to the answers to some of the most common questions people ask about cookers.
- What Size Does My Cooker Need To Be To Fit Into my Kitchen?
- What Capacity Oven Will I Need From My Cooker?
- What Fuel Type do I need For My Cooker?
- What Types of Food Do I Cook And Eat Most Often?
- How Will My Cooker Save Me Time?
- How Much does A Cooker Cost To Run?
- What Price Do I Need To Pay For My Cooker?
What Size Does My Cooker Need To Be To Fit Into my Kitchen?
Everyone has their own needs and preferences when it comes to space in their kitchen. Many people prefer their cooker out in the open so they can get to it easily. While other people have specifically-designed kitchens and require a specific size of machine to fit a specific space.
**The first decision you have to make is: where in your kitchen you want your cooker to go and what size it needs to be in order to fit. Do you need your cooker out in the open (this is known as freestanding) or do you want your machine to be slotted into your kitchen units (this is known as built-in/integrated).
Freestanding cookers are designed to be placed on their own or between cabinets in your kitchen.
**To make sure your cooker will fit into the space you have for it you will need to look closely at its width. There are two standard widths: 50cm, which is slim line, and 60cm, which is regular, although some brands offer sizes in between the two. If you are looking for a much wider unit, then you are probably after a range cooker.(please see our separate buying guide on Range cookers)
**The vast majority of cookers are around 90cm high and 60cm deep, which is the standard size for a kitchen unit (please note that there are always some exceptions).
**Remember when placing your cooker that it will need to have enough room for the oven door to open. The amount of room needed can vary depending on the size of the unit and whether it opens to the side or top down. Note: manufacturers recommend you leave a gap of at least 5cm around your freestanding cooker, to prevent any potential damage from heat. Sometimes due to the design and build of existing kitchens we understand this may not be possible.
Built-in/integrated Cookers – These are built in to your kitchen units, usually to complement a design or specific space requirement.
**Built-in cookers are 'built-in' to your kitchen units; the hob and oven are separate from each other.
**Built-in ovens come in two types: single oven or double oven.
**There is a third type of oven known as 'built-under'. These are designed to be built into the units under the counter, and have the benefit of two ovens while still fitting beneath the worktop.
**Single ovens fit into H60 x W60 x D60cm housing and can be built in a column kitchen unit or under the work surface. Full-sized, double ovens need a larger space: H90 x W60 x D60cm, and most are intended to be fitted in a column kitchen unit at a comfortable height. Please measure up carefully before you order.
When choosing where to put your new cooker, you need to make sure that it is within reach of its fuel source. There are two kinds of fuel source and three kinds of cooker: gas, electric and dual fuel. Gas and dual fuel models need to be connected by a Gas Safe registered (CORGI) engineer, so you must make sure they are within reach of a gas supply. You can contact a Gas Safe Registered engineer by logging onto http://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/ and by entering your postcode can access the contact details of several engineers working in your area who will be happy to quote you for the required services.
All three kinds of cooker need access to electricity, which can be from a plug socket, but if it needs hardwiring it will need to be installed by a qualified electrician. If you would like mychoice to connect your appliance, please check our connection services for the model you are interested in.
What Capacity Oven Will I Need From My Cooker?
The capacity is the size of your oven’s cavity. It is measured in litres. It gives a good indication of how much food it can cook, but you should also consider the shape of the oven and how many shelves it has.
Some cookers have more than one oven, or an oven/grill combination. Although the second oven is normally a lot smaller than the main one, it adds more than extra room: it allows you to cook something at a completely different temperature than the rest of the food you are cooking.
What Fuel Type do I need For My Cooker?
Your choice of cooker will be determined by your fuel supply. If you have gas, you could also consider dual fuel, which combines the speed of an electric oven with a gas hob.
**Gas Cookers - With a gas-only cooker, the oven, grill and hob are fuelled by gas. It gives instant heat, maximum control and you will find that certain foods, such as meat and poultry, will not become as dry as they can in an electric oven. Gas cookers are perfect if you use the hob a lot, as gas is burnt directly below the pan. Lowering the flow of gas reduces the temperature of the flame, which means you can go from boiling to simmering in seconds. Using a gas hob is the best way to ensure you pots and pans are hot when they need to be hot and cooler when they need to be cooler. Make note: you need to know which type of gas you are using, as it could be either natural gas or LPG. Most cookers use natural gas, so if you’re using LPG you should make sure that your model comes with an LPG conversion kit.
**Electric Cookers - With an electric-only cooker, the oven, grill and hob run on electric. Fan assisted ovens are found in most of today's models, so they should not require pre-heating. Electric ovens also cook quicker and more evenly than the gas alternative.
**Electric Hobs – There are three types of electric hob; sealed plate, ceramic and induction.
**Induction hobs - Work by using an electromagnet to make the metal in a pan very hot. They’re energy efficient and give you the same level of control as a gas hob, making them highly effective. On the downside, they require special pans and can be quite expensive.
**Ceramic hobs – These work by using a heating element to warm a ceramic plate, which, in turn, heats the pan.
**Sealed plate hobs – These work in much the same way as ceramic hobs, though they are cheaper. They take longer to heat up and cool down than a ceramic hob.
**Dual Fuel Cookers - A dual fuel cooker gives you instant heat and control from the gas hob and faster cooking pre-heat times of an electric oven.
When choosing where to put your new cooker you need to make sure that it is within reach of its fuel source. There are two kinds of fuel source and three kinds of cooker: gas, electric and dual fuel. Gas and dual fuel models need to be connected by a Gas Safe registered (CORGI) engineer, so you must make sure they are within reach of a gas supply. You can contact a Gas Safe Registered engineer by logging onto http://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/ and by entering your postcode can access the contact details of several engineers working in your area who will be happy to quote you for the required services. All three kinds of cooker need access to electricity. If you would like mychoice to connect your appliance, please check our connection services for the model you are interested in.
What Types of Food Do I Cook And Eat Most Often?
Depending on what you cook and eat most often, you might find that your cooker comes with many features on the hob, under the grill and in the oven which may well influence your selection. Some of the key features to look out for are:
**Multifunction Ovens – These allow you to choose between different cooking methods, including conventional cooking (top and bottom heat) and fan cooking for faster, even heating. Conventional cooking is ideal for baking or you may choose fan or CircoTherm cooking for roasting.
**Electronic Controls - These provide greater accuracy and maintain a constant temperature, ideal for baking delicate foods. Temperatures have been pre-selected for each function to save time on some ovens
**Wok Burners - Extra-large gas burners that are designed for woks. Much better for cooking stir-fries than on a standard hob.
**Economy Burner/Heat Zone - A less powerful burner or heat zone. Useful for small saucepans/frying pans as it delivers the same results without wasting energy heating a larger area.
**Rapid Burner - A more powerful burner or heat zone. Good for large flat-bottomed pans like frying/sauté pans.
**Half Grill - A regular-sized grill that has the option of only being half turned on, meaning smaller portions can be cooked without wasting energy by using the full power of the grill.
**Defrost feature - Speeds up defrosting foods without damaging them. Good for meats because it defrosts without cooking.
**Fan Assisted Grilling - Good for meat and excellent for poultry, because it leaves it fully cooked with a crispy skin.
**Fan Assisted Oven - Speeds up the cooking process and reduces the cooking temperature needed.
**Pizza Function - Spreads heat from the bottom of the oven upwards to give pizzas a crisper base.
Every model featured on our website has a full product feature description on their specific features page!
How Will My Cooker Save Me Time?
Many cookers today have programmes/features that can directly reduce the amount of time it takes you to cook a meal or clean your cooker/oven. Some of the most common features/programmes are:
**Minute Minder/Timer – This counts down how long is left till your food is ready and gives an alarm when it is cooked. Allows greater control and organisation while cooking.
**Programme Timer – This allows you to set a start and stop time for your cooker/oven. Again, gives greater control when cooking.
**Glass Door – A glass door allows you to peer through at your food, avoiding the loss of heat involved in opening an opaque door in order to check on your food.
**Pyrolytic Ovens - Pyrolytic ovens clean in an ingenious way by heating up the oven to a high enough temperature to burn away any old food and grease on the ovens sides. At the end, we’re left with a small pile of residue that can be wiped away easily.
**Catalytic Oven Liners – These absorb grease and help to break it down when the oven is turned on. This saves time on cleaning the oven, and the liners can be replaced when they have been used up.
**Multifunction Ovens – These allow you to choose between different cooking methods, including conventional cooking with top and bottom heat or bottom heat only and fan cooking for fast even heating. Conventional cooking is ideal for baking or you may choose fan or CircoTherm cooking for roasting.
How Much does A Cooker Cost To Run?
Energy efficiency grading for electric ovens are the responsibility of the appliance manufacturers and their work is monitored by Trading Standards. Standard tests are carried out efficiency grading’s of A-G applied, with A being the most efficient. Gas ovens and cookers are excluded from this testing, as are grill compartments or ovens incorporating a microwave.
What Price Do I Need To Pay For My Cooker?
Cooker/Oven prices can vary from less than £200 to over £3000. It all depends on what you expect from your cooker:
**For less than £200, the models are usually basic, with oven/grill and solid/sealed plate electric or gas hob.
**Between £200 and £300, you can find models that have a fan assisted oven and a separate grill and some even come in a range of colours.
**Between £300 and £400 you can usually find a fan-assisted oven with a ceramic hob or a well-designed gas cooker with some special features. Dual fuel cookers are also available.
**Between £400 and £700 you will find the majority of cookers. Normally the more you pay the more you get, with either extra features or a more attractive design as the price rises. There should be a model to suit most in this price bracket.
**£700 and above, you are able to choose from the very best cookers on the market, with induction hobs and a range of advanced features ideal if you are looking for the centrepiece of a designer kitchen. Range cookers also start at this price level and can go up to £3,000 for those high-end specialist models.
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